The Showroom

Keith Coventry


15 October - 16 November 1997

An exhibition comprising painting and sculpture made by Keith Coventry from 1994 - 1997.

The sculptures included Looted Shop Front, 1997, the bronze cast of a full-size shop window smashed during the Brixton riots in 1995; Burgess Park, SE5 and Peckham Rye, SE15, both 1994, from the series of bronze casts made from saplings found vandalised in South London housing states and parks; Kings and Queens, 1995, replicas of the heads decapitated by the vandals of Henry Moore's sculpture of the same name which is situated in the Scottish Highlands; and Bench, 1995.

Chartwell, 1997, comprised of a series of framed and glazed paintings which formed an entire brick wall. The title of this work reveales its source as being the wall built by Winston Churchill between 1927 and 1932 around the grounds of his house in Kent. In Chartwell Coventry fuses two of Churchill's pastime activities, those of painting and wall-building.

Congreve Estate, 1997, was one of an ongoing series of works. This body of paintings further reveals Coventry's enquiry into the legacy of the ideals that had in those years shaped art and society. Far from resulting in the egalitarian society desired by the Modernists, and although appearing as the abstract works by the Russian Suprematists, and Malevich in particular, these paintings are instead based on the ground plans of council estates, the emblems of current social disintegration.

Coventry's works engage with the utopian ideals of Modernism which have been physically manifested in architecture, design, town planning and the fine arts since the beginning of this century. His resulting works conflate the aspirations of a cultural, political and social past with the realities of the present day.

Keith Coventry has works in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Arts Council of England; British Council, Saatchi Collection; the Contemporary Art Society and the Museum of Modern Art San Diego. Other works could also be seen in Sensation at the Royal Academy, London.